Although, hopefully, it doesn’t happen that often, as parent and toddler group leaders it’s important that we know how to respond if one of the families we’re in contact with suffers a close bereavement.
The death of a mum, dad, child, sibling or other close relative inevitably affects the lives of both the surviving children and parents deeply. On top of the feelings of heartache and loss there are also all the practical issues that result from having to rebuild a family without the presence of a loved one.
People don’t ‘get over’ their loss quickly, and sometimes their bereavement journey becomes harder several months after the death. They can start to feel the pain of their loss even more when all the administrative issues have been dealt with and the shock and numbness has worn off. Unfortunately, that can be the time when support from friends and family begins to lessen. It’s important to recognize that the bereavement journey can be long and painful, so just ‘being there’ for bereaved families is vital, however long it takes.
Although we will not be able to fully enter into the grief of a bereaved parent or child there is much we can do to support them and their family both at the time the death and afterwards. Here are a few ideas:
If you want to find out more about bereavement support and the help that Care for the Family can give, look at our bereavement webpages. You’ll find lots of information, resources, articles and links to bereavement support organisations (including those that support bereaved children).You’ll also find information about our Bereaved Parent Support initiative (for parents whose child has died) and about our Widowed Young Support initiative (for people whose partner has died when under the age of 50). If you think that any of the information might be appropriate, do pass it on to parents or you are in contact with.